Cristina A. Carvalho

Cristina provides strategic intellectual property advice to global companies. She helps clients navigate different legal systems and cultures to realize opportunities in mature and emerging markets.
Cristina Carvalho, Managing Partner at Arent Fox

Cristina oversees an international practice that encompasses commercial transactions, intellectual property, licensing, and technology for leading US and foreign companies. She is admitted to practice law in the United States and Brazil.

Cristina currently serves on ArentFox Schiff’s Executive Committee and previously served as the Firmwide Managing Partner from 2016 - 2023 and led the firm’s highly regarded Intellectual Property group. 

Client Work

Among her clients are global manufacturing companies in the food, drinks, pet care, technology, and security segments. She also advises major Brazilian companies in technology, commercial, licensing, and intellectual property-related matters in the United States and abroad. Those clients include one of the largest oil, gas, and energy companies in the world, one of the largest publishing companies in Latin America, and several large clothing, shoe, and fashion accessories companies. She has also managed the intellectual property portfolios of celebrities and sports figures, including soccer legend Pelé and late Formula 1 pilot Ayrton Senna.

Widely recognized as a leading attorney in the food and beverage industries, Cristina has extensive experience in global intellectual property portfolio management and domestic and foreign trademark prosecution and disputes. Cristina also supervises large teams of partners, associates, and paralegals in managing international intellectual property portfolios for major clients. She regularly counsels clients concerning the selection and adoption of trademarks, how to build and enhance rights in brands, and international enforcement strategies.

She has assisted clients in multimillion-dollar transactions involving the acquisition and divestiture of intellectual property portfolios. She is skilled in drafting and reviewing domestic and foreign license agreements involving trademarks and copyrights. Cristina also advises clients in trademark infringement, unfair competition, and copyright litigation throughout the United States, domain name dispute resolution proceedings, and opposition and cancellation proceedings before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.

Previous Work

Before joining ArentFox Schiff in April 1997, Cristina practiced intellectual property law in New York City, where she managed domestic and foreign trademark portfolios for leading financial services companies, toy and sportswear manufacturers, and book publishers. She was also involved in trademark and copyright litigation, as well as in trademark proceedings before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board for significant alcohol, spirits, and beer companies.

While attending law school in Brazil, Cristina clerked for the Brazilian Patent and Trademark Office (INPI), where she drafted decisions and opinions in trademark registration appeals and opposition and cancellation proceedings. Following graduation from law school in 1985, she practiced intellectual property law for seven years in Brazil, where she was extensively involved in all aspects of technology transactions, licensing, and intellectual property protection and enforcement for North American, South American, and European clients.

Professional Activities

Cristina currently holds membership in the International Trademark Association (INTA), the Brazilian Association for Intellectual Property (ABPI), and MARQUES, among others.

Publications, Presentations & Recognitions

  • Honored as one of Washington, DC’s ‘Most Powerful Women’ by Washingtonian magazine in 2017, 2019, 2021, and 2023
  • Annually recognized as one of Latin America’s Top 100 Female Lawyers by Latinvex
  • Recognized as a leading trademark attorney by World Trademark Review since 2016. WTR notes, “Carvalho’s nuanced international expertise is a primary weapon in her diverse arsenal; she is especially talented when it comes to prosecution and transactional mandates that cross over into Latin America”
  • Featured guest at Corporate Counsel’s Women of Color’s 19th Annual Conference on the panel, “Having Their Say: Conversations Between Women of Color Managing Partners and General Counsel,” September 2023
  • Speaker, 2019 Women’s Power Summit, April 2019
  • Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America, Best Lawyers (2021-2024)
  • Recognized by The Legal 500 (2013, 2015-2018, 2021-2023)
  • Speaker, 2019 Women’s Power Summit, April 2019
  • Recognized with the Washington Business Journal’s 2018 Women Who Mean Business award
  • Named a 2017 ‘Star of the Bar’ by the Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia
  • Recognized as a top lawyer in “Latin America’s Top 100 Lawyers” by Latinvex, 2016-2023
  • Recognized as a leading IP practitioner in “IP Stars” published by Managing Intellectual Property, 2013-2022
  • Recognized as a leading female IP practitioner in “IP Stars - Top 250 Women in IP” published by Managing Intellectual Property, 2013-2021
  • “Ain’t I a Woman: Intersectionality and the Workplace,” speaker, 2018 Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA) Creating Pathways to Diversity Conference, October 2018
  • “Steering A New Ship: Women’s Rise to Leadership in Law Firms,” speaker, Transforming Women’s Leadership in the Law (TWLL) 2018 Rising Stars Event, July 2018
  • “Women in the Legal Profession: The Un-Shattered Glass Ceiling,” speaker, A Women’s Bar Association and the International Bar Association Event, April 2018
  • “Women in Business Law,” speaker, American Intellectual Property Law Association Annual Meeting, October 2016
  • “It’s Never Too Soon to Start Building Your Business,” panelist, AFNY Fox Talks, New York, October 2015
  • “Latinas in the Legal Profession,” speaker, Los Angeles, September 2016
  • “Trademarks and Consumer Protection,” speaker, International Trademark Association Annual Meeting, May 2015
  • “Restrictions in Advertising and Use of Trademarks in Regulated Industries,” speaker, Brazilian Intellectual Property Association (ABPI) Annual Meeting, São Paulo, Brazil, August 2014
  • “Innovation, Branding, and Technology - Tips for Developing and Protecting Tangible Assets,” speaker, In-House Counsel Seminar in São Paulo, Brazil, March 2014
  • “Intellectual Property Protection in Brazil,” speaker, Medical Device Summit - Brazil: The Med Tech Market, October 29, 2013
  • “How to Litigate Abroad - Strategies for In-House Counsel,” speaker, In-House Counsel Seminar in São Paulo, Brazil, September 2013
  • “Legal Strategies For Managing a Global Portfolio of Sports Brands,” speaker and moderator, Sports Lawyers Association, Atlanta, May 2013
  • “Intellectual Property Strategies to Enhance Competitiveness - Brazil, USA, and Europe - Perspectives, Opportunities and Challenges,” speaker, In-House Counsel Seminar at BM&A in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 2013

Life Beyond the Law

Cristina is a native Portuguese speaker and is fluent in Spanish.



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